Cinema Review: Bethlehem | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, March 4th, 2024  


Studio: Adopt Films
Directed by Yuval Adler

Mar 04, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia
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The Israeli/Palestinian conflict once again proves fertile ground for filmmakers with Yuval Adler’s Bethlehem, an even-handed if unspectacular look inside the nature of life between seemingly irreconcilable nations. Anyone familiar with CSI or Homeland (an Israeli export, of course) will ease into the film’s double-agent, procedural template. Sanfur (Shadi Mar’i) is a 17 year old Palenstinian who has been working undercover for an Israeli operative, Razi (Tsahi Halevy), trying to catch, among other people, Sanfur’s brother Ibrahim, a member of the ultra-militant Hamas. Razi acts as a mentor/parental figure to the conflicted boy, and while his affection is undeniable, so too are his priorities; defending Israel is paramount. Unlike Palestine’s exceedingly similar take on this very topic this year, Omar, Bethlehem succeeds mostly by showing the tragedy endemic to both sides rather than working as a mechanism for blame assignation. To show this definitively, Adler presents the end credits in both Hebrew and Arabic, respectively- a small gesture but one that speaks volumes.

Author rating: 6/10

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